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Common Scams to Be Aware of in 2021

Fraud is on the rise, with the first half of 2020 seeing a 66% increase in scams, according to Barclays, safeguarding ourselves and our clients is more important than ever. We’ve identified some of the most common scams that you should be aware of. 

Courier Companies

Fraudsters are posing as parcel firms such as DPD and Royal Mail by sending customers emails claiming that they are unable to deliver their parcels. 

The content of the email asks for their victims to provide up to date address details so that the parcel may be redelivered after paying a fee for redelivery. 

Once the victim has entered their card details the phishing links are used to steal money directly from the account.  

“Fake or scam emails are nearly always sent from a private email address and certainly not from an official DPD one,” DPD advises. “ Consumers should always check the sender’s email address and check the message has come from a valid DPD address i.e. dpd.co.uk, dpdlocal.co.uk or dpdgroup.co.uk. Any other sender email address, especially if the email is asking for money is highly likely to be a scam email. We have posted all this information on our website.”

Paypal

There have been numerous reports of scam emails coming from Paypal stating there has been unusual spending on accounts. It then asks people to access the link in the email by entering card details for added protection.

A new SMS phishing scam has also been reported as of late. Under the guise of ‘Paypal’ scammers are sending text messages to their potential victims informing them that their accounts have been permanently limited. It then attempts to steal account information by inviting the victim to enter their details. 

DVLA

The DVLA has reported a 531% increase in scam emails sent between June and September 2020, compared to the same period last year. These scams involve asking drivers to verify their driving licence details while also asking for bank details to process fake tax refunds.

During the last 3 months of 2019, DVLA revealed that there was a 20% increase in scams that were reported to their call centre. 

HMRC

An automated phone call advising that HMRC are filing lawsuits against people has duped many victims. During the call, people are asked to press a number and speak to an operative. HMRC never contact individuals through this medium and are aware of these types of scams.

In addition to this, other scams regarding tax refunds that have also been sent via text messages. HMRC Phishing scams telling you that you can claim a tax refund to help protect yourself from coronavirus.

Coronavirus Scams

Even a global pandemic won’t stop fraudsters from committing crimes. A coronavirus scam that has come to light is an SMS message that has been sent to thousands of individuals across the country. It claims that a goodwill payment of £258 will be issued by HMRC, as part of a promise by the NHS in their battle with the Covid 19 virus.

Fake emails are also circulating from the NHS Track and Trace. They offer people fast track vaccinations for a fee. According to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), 600,000 reports about scams had been logged about scam emails in the first three months of the pandemic.

Banking

Many victims are being caught out by phone calls from scammers pretending to be from a bank. They claim that your account is at risk and ask for your card and PIN. Due to security issues, banks will never ask for any sensitive information.

If you receive such a call do not use the number the scammers provide you with. Hang-up your phone and, if possible, call your bank from another phone.

Another method being used are scam calls that claim to be from your bank or a police officer advising that someone has been arrested using your card details in a store. They then ask you to confirm your card details.

Computer and Internet Scams

Impersonators of BT Openreach and Microsoft are some of the biggest scams around. A common extortion practice is to convince victims that their computer or account is at risk, or that they have detected a virus. Following on from this they ask you to download anti-virus software. This software then turns out to be spyware used to access your personal details.

Were You Involved in a Car Accident?

Calls asking about recent car accidents are on the up. This scam call asks whether people have been involved in a road accident, claiming that they are entitled to compensation. 

Scammers have access to software that mimics an official telephone number so it can be seen on your caller display. Be aware that this may not be a genuine number. You can often check these numbers via a Google search.

What to Look Out For

  • Look out for poor grammar and punctuation.
  • Check to see if the web address is legitimate.
  • Please do not click on any of the suspicious links.

What to Do Next

  • Block the calls on your smartphone.
  • If you have been caught out call your bank’s fraud department and report it straightaway.
  • Talk to your phone provider and see what call blocking services they offer.
  • Register with the telephone preference service. This service is free, you can opt-out of unsolicited live telesales calls.
  • If you have received an email or call that you’re not sure about contact the company from the contact details listed on their website.
  • Please report any incidents to report@phishing.co.uk 

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